The city of Hamburg, Germany, and its residents have rejected its bid to host the 2024 Olympics after a referendum on Sunday, according to the Boston Globe. A majority of 51.6 percent of Hamburg’s residents voted no, citing the large expense the Games would incur on the city. Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz, while respectful of the tally, was disappointed with the outcome. “That’s a decision that we didn’t want, but it’s clear,” said the mayor.
The mayor’s opinions were echoed by other officials, as detailed by Al Jazeera America, including bid CEO Nikolas Hill, who said “We expected a different result. The result nevertheless is clear for us, we have to accept it. There will be no discussion or rethinking it. That is it. That is what they wanted.” Another International Olympic Committee spokesman was even more dramatic.
“With this decision a great opportunity for the city, the country, and the sport in Germany is lost.”
The BBC reports that it would have cost the city nearly $12 billion to host the event, with almost $2 billion of that coming from the government. Hamburg becomes the second major city to drop out of contention after Boston withdrew in July. The United States still has a horse in the race in the city of Los Angeles, which remains in the running along with Rome, Paris, and Budapest. That final decision won’t be made, however, until September of 2017.
Germany’s drought will reach 52 years in which it has not played host to the Olympic Games when 2024 rolls around. It last held the honor in 1972, when Munich was the host city, though those Games will forever be remembered for the Palestinian terrorist attacks on members of Israel’s Olympic team. Munich also rejected its bid for the 2022 Winter Games in another referendum. Berlin was also in contention to host in 2024, but German olympic officials opted for Hamburg instead. Dw.com speculates why Hamburg rejected their Olympic bid with cost, safety, and priorities as the main themes. It’s no secret that the recent attacks in Paris and the daily threats of terrorism have played a major role in decisions like hosting the Olympics, not to mention the increase of migrants and refugees that have flocked to Hamburg.
The five-city finalists were originally announced on September 16, 2015, with Hamburg, Germany, receiving a nod due to its proximity to water, allowing the city to host water-based and non water-based sports in a tight-knit location. Back in April, it was announced that the city of Kiel would host all of the sailing competitions. Hamburg has one of the biggest harbors in Europe and boasts hundreds of waterways and canals. The city intended to re-use their slogan (“Fire and Flame”) and logo from their 2012 Summer Olympic bid.
Hamburg had demonstrated previous success hosting global events before as it was one of the host cities for the 1974 and 2006 World Cups. The host nation won the ’74 Cup and came in third in 2006. However, the country’s soccer association finds itself under investigation over a large payment from Germany to FIFA to assist in the 2006 World Cup bid. Simply put, there are allegations that Germany bribed soccer’s governing body to earn that bid, one that they won over South Africa by one single vote.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, with Pyeongchang, South Korea, playing host to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Tokyo, Japan, invites the world to the Summer games in 2020, while Beijing, China, received the nod for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The only remaining U.S. city in the running for 2024 last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1984.
[Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images]